Jarred Thompson

Jarred Thompson’s short story Good Help Is Hard to Find was announced the winner of the Afritondo Short Story Prize 2020 on March 27, 2020.

Afritondo, a new platform that aims to connect with and tell the stories of African and black minority populations across the globe, this year announced a new award called the Afritondo Short Story Prize. The theme for the first edition, judged by Megan Ross (Chair), Gloria Mwaniga, and Kelechi Njoku, had the theme, “Love.”

Dr Allwell Uwazuruike, co-editor of Afritondo, said: “Our aim for the competition was to connect with African and black minority writers from across the globe to tell their own authentic stories. We chose love as a theme because we wanted something that was both ordinary and special. We wanted a theme that would resonate with most people and we wanted to gauge the various perspectives of love from across African and black communities.”

The award received 421 entries from 19 countries from across the continent and on February 5, with the help of a team of readers, the judging panel announced a longlist of twenty one outstanding entries.  The shortlist of six was announced on March 6, 2020 before the winner was revealed on March 27.

Commenting on the winning story by Jarred Thompson, the panel said: “Good Help is Hard to Find is a wry, subversive take on suburbia and its secrecies, made all the more powerful by a tight narrative, strong voice and sensitive characterisation”.

Good Help is Hard to Find tells the story of a house help Pamela and her employer Mrs Devilliers who is struggling with the affection she feels for another woman.

“What the judges loved about the story was its unhurried style and the manner in which the author made a story so lush in event feel lean. The author skillfully amplified the comfort of routine, trust, and laughter, offering a delightfully queer treatment of everyday life, peppered with humour and warmth. The close observations of the little details of domestic life, and the relationships herein, were a joy to read,” the panel added.